Sunday, 3 November 2013

Ableism and Ableist People aka Let's call a Spade a Spade

I know that we must call a spade a spade and put Ableism right on up there next to Sexism, Racism and Homophobia and many other scared weird hate isms. We must stop calling it "disability discrimination". When the general public hear the word disability they think of it (us) as someone else's "problem". They pop a coin in the beggars tin. They think Special Needs People need to be "dealt" with by Specialists in a Special Place (away from them) and they eSpecially do not particularly want to hang out with us. For of course they have no Special Skills to be able to approach the Special People. Those Spastics. Those Retards. Those Deaf and Dumb.

Do NOT use the D word. If we keep referring to their label for us then that is where we will stay. Disabled.

THIS discrimination belongs with those who do it. Call it after the people who discriminate. Call it Ableism. Put it where it belongs!!

I believe that it has become very difficult for white people to say that black people are lesser than they are. Or for men to say that women are inferior to them. It is easier cos it is just gender and skin colour.

However, with us crips the story is different. The "Able" people, the self-appointed Normal people can point to us and say - "you can't walk or see or speak or understand LIKE ME so you must be inferior. It's obvious! You are not Normal."

What they fail to see is that they have never built the world or their attitudes to include US with equal opportunity. When it comes to our access to equal opportunity, it suddenly costs too much. Never mind what it costs to accommodate sighted people's need for lighting or hearing people's need for hundreds of noise emitting devices, or chairs sitting around empty most of the time everywhere, in trains, waiting rooms, theatres, public transport, aeroplanes, offices, schools. Altogether this tip of their iceberg costs trillions of dollars worldwide. And that's ok. Because that’s NORMAL. But when we need a wheelchair, the only chair we will use in public, it is suddenly too expensive and we will have to go on the waiting list.

I said to the train driver who was putting out the ramp for me to get on the train. "They should get automatic ramps." He “Oh no that would cost too much." Me "Well get rid of the seats! They cost thousands upon thousands. I bring my own chair so get them to bring their own chair!!!" He giggled as if I was talking nonsense.

That is Ableism. That is why we do not function well with our "impairments". And what IS normal and who got to decide what normal is anyway? The people in control, the men over the women, the white people over the black people and the “normal” people (who had physically built the world to exclude us) over the abnormal people.

For too long we have tolerated this and still tolerate this. We need a united front in the rejection of Ableism to get rid of it. While it is only a few of us fighting Ableism we will be pointed out as the "bitter twisted cripples" as opposed to the "sweet disabled people who are sooo grateful and lovely". Too many of us are too oppressed or frightened to rock the boat yet.

When the new generations of feisty aware crips and non-crips come on things will gradually change. But people will have to die and then their kids and their kids will have to die before Ableism is eliminated. We must gradually educate out and fight out and breed out the defect that causes Ableism!!!!

We must all make a stand. Even if it is only in small ways. Have it YOUR way :)

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